McDonald's makes huge change to their Happy Meal for the first time ever - and there's a poignant reason

Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.
Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.
McDonald’s has made a big change to their Happy Meal for the first time ever - but there’s a good reason.

McDonald’s has made a change to its Happy Meal for the first time ever, but for a very poignant reason - and the move has received backing from a top footballer.

The fast food giant as removed the iconic smile from millions of its Happy Meal boxes in restaurants across the country. The move aims to help spark family conversations about emotions during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until tomorrow (Sunday May 19). It is hoped the box change - which is for a limited time - will aid in letting children know that it is okay not to be happy all the time

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This follows new research commissioned by McDonald’s which reveals that almost half (48%) of UK children feel like they must be happy all the time, even if they do not want to be. The limited-edition Happy Meal boxes have been designed to encourage parents to talk to their children about how they are feeling.

Available alongside the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes are sheets of stickers that showcase an array of emotions that children experience, enabling children to illustrate their feelings directly onto the boxes themselves. The boxes will be available nationwide in all McDonald’s restaurants, with the stickers available in select locations until tomorrow.

McDonald’s is also working with BBC charity Children in Need to provide families with access to a dedicated hub of resources designed to encourage candid conversations on emotional well-being with children, in collaboration with the charity’s Mental Health Awareness Week campaign shining a light on the emotional weight children and young people across the UK carry. The hub will be available to access via a QR code on the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes, as well as via the McDonald’s website and social media channels.

Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.
Footballer Rio Ferdinand has supported a McDonald's and Children in Need campaign, which has seen the fast food chain remove the smile from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Photo by McDonald's.

Football legend and father-of-five, Rio Ferdinand, has teamed up with McDonald’s to support the campaign. He has drawn on his own parenting experiences to highlight to parents and families the reasons why it is so important to have conversations about emotional well-being with your children.

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He said: “I’ve experienced first-hand with my own children how good communication and encouraging kids to embrace how they truly feel can build trust and help to manage emotions – no matter how big or small. It’s our job to empower our children to express themselves freely and support them every step of the way in understanding that it’s okay to not be happy all the time."

McDonald’s customers can also donate the cash equivalent of their MyMcDonald’s Rewards points to BBC Children in Need through the McDonald’s App, to support the company’s commitment to helping children’s wellbeing.

Fozia Irfan OBE, Director of Impact and Influence at BBC Children in Need, says, “Ensuring children are happy is at the top of all parents’ priorities, but allowing children to express themselves and giving them the necessary space to articulate when they aren’t feeling at their best is of equal importance.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the vital impact we can make on children and young people’s mental wellbeing and we are thrilled to be working with McDonald’s to provide the necessary support parents and families may need to start the conversations with their children.”

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